A jury in New York on Thursday found Sam Bankman-Fried (SBF), the former CEO of FTX, guilty of defrauding FTX’s customers before its sudden collapse in November 2022. He pleaded not guilty and said if he mismanaged the company, he was not at fault under water. He now faces up to 110 years in prison.
Here’s a timeline of the main events leading up to the verdict:
A graduate of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Bankman-Fried is leaving his job as a quantitative trader at Jane Street Capital to start Alameda Research, a cryptocurrency trading firm.
Bankman-Fried and ex-Google employee Gary Wang found FTX, a new platform for trading cryptocurrencies and derivatives.
FTX is raising $420 million in venture capital, valuing the company at $25 billion. Bankman-Fried made the Forbes billionaires list, which estimates his net worth at $22.5 billion. The magazine estimates his fortune at the end of the year at $26 billion.
The NFL Super Bowl broadcast features cryptocurrency ads, marking the peak of the craze for this booming asset class. FTX’s “Don’t Miss” spot features actor Larry David, whose skepticism towards the platform is presented as that of a primitive man doubting the importance of the wheel.
Bankman-Fried appears to be the “white knight” of the cryptocurrency sector amid the collapse in the prices of Bitcoin and other digital assets. Alameda is providing a $200 million loan to cryptocurrency lender Voyager Digital, and FTX is lending $250 million to BlockFi, another struggling player in the industry.
November 2, 2022
Cryptocurrency news website CoinDesk publishes a leaked balance sheet from Alameda Research that shows a large portion of its $14.6 billion in assets is held in FTX’s own token, called FTT. The token will then lose approximately $400 million of its market capitalization, and rival exchange Binance says it will sell its stakes to FTT.
November 8, 2022
After FTX recorded $6 billion in withdrawals in three days, Binance chief Changpeng Zhao said the company had signed a non-binding agreement to buy a non-US unit of FTX. Binance will exit the transaction the next day.
November 11, 2022
FTX files for bankruptcy protection and Bankman-Fried resigns as CEO.
November 16, 2022
Comedian David and other FTX promoters, including NFL quarterback Tom Brady, are being sued for deceptive practices. Celebrities said the lawsuits should be dismissed, saying they were not the cause of the losses suffered by FTX investors.
December 12, 2022
Bankman-Fried is arrested in the Bahamas, where he lives and where FTX is based. The U.S. Attorney’s Office in Manhattan later confirmed that a federal grand jury had indicted him on fraud and conspiracy charges.
December 21, 2022
Bankman-Fried leaves the Bahamas after agreeing to be extradited to the United States. While it’s on the air, prosecutors reveal that Wang and Caroline Ellison, Alameda’s CEO, have pleaded guilty and agreed to cooperate with prosecutors.
December 22, 2022
Bankman-Fried made his first appearance in federal court in Manhattan and was released to his parents’ home in Palo Alto, California, on $250 million bail.
3-12 January 2023
Bankman-Fried pleaded not guilty and District Judge Lewis Kaplan set his trial for October. In a blog post following his arrest, Bankman-Fried denies stealing the funds and blames the FTX collapse on the broader decline in crypto markets.
February 28, 2023
Nishad Singh, a former director of engineering at FTX, is increasing the pressure on Bankman-Fried by becoming the third former member of his inner circle to plead guilty to fraud charges and agree to cooperate with prosecutors.
11 AUGUST 2023
Kaplan revokes Bankman-Fried’s bond after finding substantial reason to believe he tampered with witnesses at least twice, including sharing Ellison’s private files with a New York Times reporter. Bankman-Fried is being held in pretrial custody at the Metropolitan Detention Center in Brooklyn, pending trial.
October 3, 2023
The trial begins in federal court in Manhattan.
October 28, 2023
Bankman-Fried testifies in his own defense that he said “a lot of people were hurt” in the collapse of FTX, but insists that he didn’t cheat anyone or steal billions of dollars from its customers.
November 2, 2023
Bankman-Fried was found guilty of all seven counts against him.